The urge to do, the need to be.

I want to DO something. Something important. Something that impacts the world in a powerful way. Something I can do RIGHT NOW at 11pm because it feels like the only time I have.

I finished reading Half the Sky today. I started months ago and had to take it slowly as it is both a searingly painful and achingly hopeful book. I wanted to jump up as soon as I put it down and take action but my daughter woke from her nap and needed me.

Then I read the story of the 11 year old girl who raised $70 000 to save birds affected by the Gulf oil disaster by drawing pictures in exchange for donations. Again, that urge to do something struck. But what?

Danielle LaPorte’s post on her birthday giveaway appeared in my inbox and I thought “I wanna be her”. Not in a crazy I-don’t-want-to-be-me way. In an inspired I-wanna-pull-my-best-out-and-offer-it-to-the-world-like-she-does way. If only I could figure out exactly what that best is.

I’m staying with my lovely sister-in-law and her family in Denver and they don’t recycle. It pains me to see the glass, plastic and paper products in the trash can. I smell her clean dryer-sheet-scented towels as I dry my face and all I can think is how much poison I’m breathing into my lungs. It becomes a physical ache when I think of how many other people out there aren’t reducing/reusing/recycling/buying local or organic foods/using non-toxic chemicals in their homes and on their (children’s) bodies etc. I wonder about the toxic load my unborn baby will have to bear. Overwhelm kicks in. I stop spinning long enough to breathe.

The amazing thing to me is how many people are taking action, are changing the world, are offering their best. It revs me up and knocks my socks off. I LOVE IT. It keeps me up at night because I get so jazzed about what others are doing. I know I’m a part of it, somehow. I know in my heart of hearts, when I listen to that deep, clear inner voice, that I am slowly taking my place in this incredible lineage. That if I keep putting one foot in front of the other, the journey will take me exactly where I need to go.

I remember my decision to move to Los Angeles from Vancouver over 10 years ago. It felt like there was a cord attached to my heart, pulling me south to my future. It feels different now – not so external. There’s been a settling in over the last decade, a settling in to myself.

That settling in is allowing me to realize that as much as I want to take action in this instant, I am in the process of healing ancient wounds, both my own and those I’ve inherited. I am learning unconditional love, compassion, gentleness, kindness. I am unearthing expectations I didn’t know I had and shifting (slowly) old habits and patterns. I am dousing my body in healing energies and I am forgiving myself my perceived mistakes. I’m growing another human being.

As much as I want to do right now, this is a time for me to be. A time to let both my body and spirit ripen so that they may bear fruit. A time to sit with all of the feelings, the wants, the desires and trust that when the time is right, I will move into right action. It is a time to acknowledge that I am enough, just as I am and that my quest to be “better” is misguided. There is no “better”. There is simply, truthfully, lovingly, me.

For everything there is a season.

Here’s to honoring the season we are in.


~ by Alana on June 16, 2010.

17 Responses to “The urge to do, the need to be.”

  1. Wow! And your being IS doing, you know? What greater thing can you/we-all of us — do than to BE in the now, feeling our feelings and matching them with heart and compassion?? So much wisdom here, thank you!

    Have you read Dawna Markova’s Spot of Grace and/or Pam Grout’s Living Big? Both are hugely inspiring for both doing and being!!

  2. I love this, Alana. It is so challenging to quiet the anxiety churned up by thoughts of “must DO” and simply accept the season that IS. What a beautiful, gentle nudge for us all! xo

    • Emma – I’m glad it felt like a gentle nudge. Sometimes to me it’s a sledgehammer to the head 🙂

  3. Alana, Oh my goodness. Your words pierced straight into my heart. You growing a baby, healing ancient wounds, learning unconditional love…what amazing things you are DOing. These things are healing not only you, but the collective. We can’t even begin to see the effects of actions such as these.
    What a beautiful woman you are. Sacred. Divine. Whole.

  4. My daughter is reading “Half the Sky” for her orientation at Smith College this Fall. I can not wait to start reading it myself…

    and your words, beyond that – are pure loveliness. May your passion continue to ignite the planet.

    • Julie – be prepared to be horrified and inspired. It’s an incredible book. I’d love to know what you think.

      I feel so lucky to be among such incredible women. Thank you for your support.

  5. Yes, and honoring the season you are in can be difficult sometimes, but we must be patient, mostly with ourselves. My sister-in-law does not recycle either and it drives me a little crazy. But one thing I have learned, the thing that has become my mantra over the past few years is: “The only person whose behavior I can control is my own.” It helps me every day, to remind myself of that. I am so glad it is Summer.

    • mrs m. SO true – I can only control what I do and if I hope to make any changes, it must be by living the example. It’s a great mantra for parenting too. Happy Solstice.

  6. What you’re doing is the right amount, because it is what you’re doing. Your process, and letting us get a peek at it, is amazing… thanks. And happy summer!

    And you’re growing a person. That’s a project, to be sure.

    • Shannon – thank you, I keep working to remember that. It’s funny (and perhaps sad) to me that being pregnant is such a common and uncontrollable process I often forget to honor it for the project it is.

      • Pregnancy and parenthood terrify me, but I’m full of respect and admiration for anyone who undertakes it. It may be common, but your outlook on it is all you 🙂

  7. […] not by a long shot. But things have shifted, and that’s a good place for now. Alana wrote earlier about honoring the season we’re in, and that’s the space I’m in for the […]

  8. […] it all out… not by a long shot. But things have shifted, and that’s a good place for now. Alana wrote earlier about honoring the season we’re in, and that’s the space I’m in for the […]

  9. you know, i really have a hankerin’ to go wash off some birds. i’ve been googling around, but i haven’t found any call for women with latex gloves and palmolive. sigh.

  10. Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the good works guys I’ve added you guys to our blogroll.

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